Cameroon has long been viewed as a model of stability in a region fraught with conflict. Under the surface, however, tensions between its Anglophone and Francophone populations have simmered for decades. In October 2016, violence erupted in the Anlgophone North-West and South-West (NWSW) regions, and has since displaced more than 530,000 people and killed 1,800. If the government of Cameroon and international donors do not act, the humanitarian situation will rapidly deteriorate.
Refugees International’s primer for members of the 116th Congress on international humanitarian assistance provides background on the proud, bipartisan tradition of U.S. leadership in humanitarian affairs, the value of U.S. investment in humanitarian and development funding, and the humanitarian imperative of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and outlines several key priority areas for policymakers.
Years of instability and violence in the Central African Republic have led to large-scale displacement and a desperate need for international aid. This year, more than half of the country's 4.6 million people will depend on humanitarian assistance for protection and survival. But despite the negative trendlines, there is an opportunity for progress.
Despite jubilation in Ethiopia and abroad since reformer Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April 2018, a major humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the south of the country. The government is pressing for displaced people to return home, but their villages are still unsafe and their homes must be rebuilt. Mark Yarnell offers recommendations for mitigating the crisis.
Syria is in the midst of one of the largest and fastest displacement crises since the start of the country’s bloody civil war eight years ago. As many as 330,000 Syrians have been displaced and are fleeing toward Jordan and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights to escape the Syrian government’s rapid advance. But despite the worsening crisis, international borders remain closed.
The United States and other donors have an important opportunity to consolidate stability in northeast Syria, which has been largely liberated from the Islamic State. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have begun to return home, but much work remains to be done with major population centers like Raqqa still riddled with explosive devices and basic services still to be restored. Actions by the Trump administration, however, threaten to unravel fragile progress on the ground.
Just back from a field mission in Syria, Hardin Lang writes that last week’s strikes against Syria won’t change the arc of the conflict, nor will they alleviate the suffering of the civilian population: chemical weapons are responsible for but a tiny fraction of that suffering. Their absence will not stop the Assad regime from continuing to press its military advantage.
As Ukrainians celebrate Easter and Holy Week, the government and separatists backed by Russia have agreed to a total ceasefire in the five-year old conflict. This year, they hope to observe the Easter Pascha holiday in both government-controlled and separatist-held areas without the threat of attacks or shelling. But will the Easter ceasefire hold?
No doubt, the civilians living along the 450 km line separating the warring parties remain skeptical.
As UN member states meet to discuss the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees, it is essential that they consider the specific needs of individuals impacted by natural disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. Those moving across international borders in the context of disasters and climate change do not always fall neatly within existing definitions of refugees and migrants, leaving the most vulnerable individuals without sufficient protection and at risk of human rights violations.
The crisis in Northeast Nigeria has reached an inflection point. Widespread famine no longer appears imminent, and the Nigerian military has pushed Boko Haram out of a number of cities and towns. However, the humanitarian crisis is far from over, and major challenges remain in responding to the needs of the internally displaced. At the same time, Nigerian officials are pressing for large-scale returns of the displaced to recently liberated areas—often before conditions can legitimately support returns. The Nigerian government should pause organized returns to insecure areas and work with the international community to improve services and protection for the displaced, while setting the stage for sustainable pathways home. In addition, the government must work to support local integration for those who may never return home.
In November, Refugees International carried out a mission to Puerto Rico to investigate the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria. Our team found the response by federal and Puerto Rican authorities was still largely uncoordinated and poorly implemented, prolonging the humanitarian emergency on the ground. Thousands of people still lack sustainable access to potable water and electricity and dry, safe places to sleep.
This Refugees International report details how Myanmar’s military - the same military responsible for ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar - is also responsible for severe human rights abuses and blocking of life-saving aid to a mostly Christian minority in the north of the country. A team from Refugees International was able to access a restricted area outside of government control in Myanmar’s Kachin State to document the conditions of displaced persons.
At the close of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Francisca Vigaud-Walsh writes that women’s bodies are often a battleground in conflict zones, and humanitarian aid areas must be a place for healing their wounds. Programs such as the U.S. initiative "Safe From the Start" are essential tools in the addressing the impacts of violence against woman and girls in conflicts.
Despite the alarming numbers of people in need, as well as the grave atrocities being carried out, the Kasai region has received very little international attention and humanitarian funding. More than 30,000 people have fled from the Kasai region into Angola, seeking protection and support, and another 1.4 million people are internally displaced. The UN estimates that roughly one million people are food insecure, including 400,000 children who are facing malnutrition. The needs are staggering